I read an article posted at Health.com on January 19, called 6 Reasons Why You Can’t Out-Exercise A Bad Diet that I wanted to share. The article talks about all the ways we can fail to properly fuel our bodies (over-eating, under-eating, an improper mixture of nutritional elements, or bad timing) and the impact it can have on our feeling toward exercise, our physical performance, and ultimately our results. More importantly, it highlights that to make a change for the better in terms of physical fitness, exercise can’t compensate for poor choices in diet.
This is not the first time that Joy and I have decided to step up our physical activity in recent years. But, I would say, it is the first time we have done so while at the same time also stepping up our nutrition. And putting the two together has been the recipe for real change, both in how we look and in how we feel.
We have adopted running as a part of our routine before. In fact, this time last year we were training twice weekly with the amazing staff and volunteers who run out of Fit First in Burnaby, BC. The problem was that I might still start the next morning with a Tim Horton’s iced cap and a doughnut, or we might still share a late night junkie snack after the kids went to bed. The end result was that although we did make modest improvements in our run performance (it wasn’t all for nothing), we didn’t feel that we had really boosted our physical fitness level and kick-started a transformation.
What I think is important to take away from the article is that balance is key; that balance in diet is as important as restricting empty calories. Sure, it’s obvious that over-indulging in sweets and fats is building up a deficit that exercise can’t easily overcome. But, also, being too restrictive in your choices or following a diet plan that leaves your body without key elements that promote healthy function and energy production can counteract any gains you hope to make in the gym or on the trails.
I’d like to think we’re evidence of this axiom. Only now that we have built a routine based on a better nutritional foundation — on smoothies that start our day off with balance, on snacks that include more protein and less sugar, and on healthier dinners incorporating local produce (thanks SPUD) — are we starting to see real improvement in how we look and feel.
And it’s so much easier to enjoy running, when you no longer have bad eating habits to outrun.
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.